Emma Pritchard, Clarence Valley Independent
Mark Swain will tell you every song is a story.
A true story.
And as the popular country music singer and songwriter from Brooms Head holds up his recent accolade, he is proud to share one of his recent true stories with the Clarence Valley Independent.
The local man lovingly referred to as “Swainy”, recently won the John P Toomey Song Writing Award at the Dusty Boots Music Festival in Narromine for Guitar Pick’n Man, an original song which tells the true story of his marriage break down, love of beer, especially Tooheys, and his passion for country music.
Describing the trophy as the bee’s knees of country music awards, the down to earth performer said he was stunned and surprised when his name was announced as the winner after he entered Guitar Pick’ n Man in the competition.
“I wasn’t expecting it, but I just feel so honoured,” he said.
“I do what I do because I love country music.
“I don’t do it for the money or the awards, though it’s very humbling to be recognised, I do it because it’s my passion.”
A skilled painter and plasterer by trade, Mr Swain said writing and singing songs, and sharing his stories through his music, keep him motivated and provide him with many joyous moments.
Originally from the Gold Coast, he has been performing for over 40 years and writes a lot of Australian songs, drawing inspiration from Vietnam veterans, Aussie Diggers, and our beautiful and unique country.
He said he can write a song within an hour if the inspiration is in front of him, and knows the song is complete once he “feels goosebumps”.
“If I get goosebumps, then I know I’ve nailed it,” he said happily.
“Every song is a story, and country music songs are either good stories, or sad stories.
“Music allows you to share your story with people around you, and mate, that’s a pretty special thing to do.
” Mr Swain previously won the Harold Hec Davies Award for services to country music at the Dusty Boots Festival in 2018 and is looking forward to organising and booking upcoming performances in the Clarence Valley.
He also has a steady following on social media and said the best advice he would like to offer to emerging country music artists is to work hard, follow their passion, keep it Australian, and always tell a true story.
This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 22 June 2022.